Flood Warning Terms
Flood Watch high flow or overflow of water from a river is possible in the given time period. It can also apply to heavy runoff or drainage of water into low-lying areas. These watches are generally issued for flooding that is expected to occur at least 6 hours after heavy rains have ended.
Flood Warning flooding is actually occurring or is imminent in the warning area.
Flash Flood Watch flash flooding is possible in or close to the watch area. Flash Flood Watches are generally issued for flooding that is expected to occur within 6 hours after heavy rains have ended.
Flash Flood Warning flash flooding is actually occurring or is imminent in the warning area. It can be issued as a result of torrential rains, a dam failure, or ice jam.
If you live near the ocean, you should also be aware of the following alerts:
Coastal Flood Watch the possibility exists for the inundation of land areas along the coast within the next 12 to 36 hours.
Coastal Flood Warning land areas along the coast are expected to become, or have become, inundated by sea water above the typical tide action.